My parents like to tell a story from my childhood. When I was a toddler they would put me in the backseat of the car in a child’s car seat when they would take me somewhere like to the store or to a friend’s house. When we would drive down the highway, I would see golden arches through the car window and yell, “Donald’s!”

Now, I was only two or three years old at the time. I wasn’t old enough to read. I could barely see high enough to see through the car window. But when I saw those arches it meant something to me.

My parents would sometimes take me to McDonald’s for a Happy Meal. I would associate the burger and fries with the golden arches.

That is branding.

A brand is anything—a symbol, design, name, sound, reputation, emotion, employees, tone, and much more—that separates one thing from another. In the case of McDonald’s, the golden arches became part of the brand. Those arches separate their product from all other fast food restaurants and they’re a recognizable symbol even with kids.

Level Up Your Personal Branding With Your Own Website or Blog

Branding on a business-level is common, but today branding is becoming just as important on a personal level. After all, you might work for a business that works with other businesses, but it’s people working with people and that’s what makes business relationships valuable.

Why should you build your personal brand?

Building a recognizable personal brand opens professional opportunities.

Creating a vision for your future and implementing that vision can lead to:

  • A better job
  • Better contacts and clients for your company
  • Industry recognition
  • And more

If you’re looking for a better job, you want your potential boss at your ideal company to associate your personal brand with something that she needs on her team.

If you’re looking to grow the sales for a company, you want potential clients to associate your personal brand with a feeling of trust and long-term success and satisfaction.

This guide will take your through all the steps you need to take to create a your unique personal brand. In today’s job market and entrepreneurial landscape, there is no room for being another face in the crowd. You have to separate yourself from the competition. You have to be more appealing to your target audience and you can achieve it by creating a recognizable personal brand.

Not Everything In This Guide Will Apply To You

This is an advanced guide to building your personal brand. There is a lot of information covering many different steps you can take to build your personal brand.

However, not everything in this guide needs to be followed to reach your goals. Not everything in the guide applies to everyone so if you notice something that doesn’t fit your vision or your goals it’s okay.

The purpose of this guide is to cover as much as possible about the process of building a personal brand. In the final chapter, we discuss why it’s important to be yourself. You can take the information here as a guide, but use the information in your own way. Follow steps exactly or use certain information and create your own steps for finding success.

Want to Take a (Proven) Shortcut? 

Building a brand story from scratch feels like a daunting task – because it is. There’s a reason we broke this guide up into seven different chapters.

We usually aren’t a fan of shortcuts, but this one is a proven method that ensures you end up with an incredibly captivating personal brand without having to do most of the work yourself. Or trying to fit a decade’s worth of learning into a few days. 

The key to this shortcut? Hiring a branding agency. They’ll help you figure out your core values, mission, and what gives your brand that special sauce. They’re pros at digging in to discover the heart and soul behind what you do. From there, they can put all the pieces together into a compelling story for you. 

Once your brand story is all set, branding agencies work with you to instill it as a part of your business’s DNA. They’ll weave the story into every aspect of your brand, including your website, social media, logo, color schemes, voice, packaging, and ads. 

While hiring an agency is an investment, think of it as more than a line item. It’s a shortcut that ensures you get what you want. It also fast tracks integrating your story into your entire presence. All while you and your team continue working to build, grow, and streamline your business. 

This approach isn’t right for everyone. If you prefer to save money and don’t mind a bit of elbow grease, the rest of this guide will help you get to the same spot. 

But if it DOES sound up your alley, start with our list of the best branding agencies. There, you’ll find nothing but recommendations you can trust. 

Expert Roundup: Quotes From Successful & Influential Individuals

For this guide we wanted to include quotes from well-known individuals in the online world. These are people that have been the reason for the success of some of the most successful brands in the world. They know what it takes to succeed and that includes their feelings on building a personal brand.

We asked three questions:

  1. What one action, decision, or choice has had the single biggest impact in the growth of your personal brand?
  2. If you were building an online presence from scratch today, what 3 things would you consider to provide the biggest ROI on your time and money?
  3. For those looking to create a strong online brand, which 3 online influencers would you recommend they follow?

Throughout this guide you’ll find the answers along with actionable steps you can take to follow the advice of these experts.How To Create Your Personal Brand Vision

Businesses create vision and mission statements. Creating a personal brand begins much the same way by creating a personal vision.

Only you can determine how you want your life to unfold. You can’t control every aspect of your life, but you can create a long-term vision and develop steps to achieve that vision.

Your life’s vision should include how you see yourself in 10, 20 and even 50 years. Consider the elements in life that would make you happy—a family, a beach house, a challenging corporate job?

There are no right or wrong answers and in this chapter we’ll guide you through the steps necessary to create your personal vision.

How To Define Your Target Audience

Once you have your vision, it’s time to determine who your target audience is. Most professionals are selling something to someone. If you’re looking for a job, you’re selling yourself to a potential employer. If you want to start your own business, you’re selling yourself to potential clients.

But your target audience goes beyond an employer and customer. You’re looking to build a community of people—employers, peers, influencers, etc.—who can all be assets in different ways.

In this chapter, we’ll show you how to define your target audience. Knowing the exact person you’re selling to makes it easier for you to communicate your brand message.

Define Your Target Audience

How To Build Up Your Online And Offline Assets

Thee are a number of assets that require attention when you’re building your personal brand. You’ll need to secure domain names and websites to help control your personal brand on search. You’ll need to secure social media accounts to control your personal brand on social networks.

And you’ll need to know how to build these assets so you can build your overall network. In this chapter, we’ll go over the most important online and offline assets for building your personal brand and give you step-by-step instructions for securing and building each up with a strong community.

How To Build Your Brand Through Outreach

When you start building your personal brand it’s difficult to get exposure. It’s necessary to get exposure in the places where your target audience is spending time.

In this chapter, we’re going to explain how you can gain exposure through earned media, advertising and a few other strategies. Following the steps in this chapter will give you formulas for creating content that is appealing to your target audience while establishing you as an authority

How To Get Free Press Coverage

Another way to gain exposure is to get free press coverage. There are a number of tools that make it easy to build connections with journalists, bloggers and moderators. Building these relationships and understanding what the press wants gives you the power to get free press.

How To Connect With Mentors

One key to success is continued learning. Even the smartest people in the world can become smarter and more skilled in certain aspects of life.

Mentors are great assets for professionals looking to build a personal brand. You can learn how they became success or how they view the world and use the strategies to build your own success.

In this chapter, we’ll show you how to find mentors and how to approach them so they will help you with your personal brand.

How To Connect With Mentors

Be Yourself Because Everyone Else Is Taken

We’re going to close the guide with an important chapter on being unique. You want to take influence from others including your mentors, but it’s important that you be yourself. That’s how you’ll separate yourself from the competition.

In this chapter we’ll give you steps for further identifying why you’re different and how to embrace differences to attract people to you in a positive way.

Be Yourself Because Everyone Else Is Taken

Are you ready to build your personal brand?